80 UK Pubs Now Closing A Month

80 UK Pubs Now Closing A Month

Pub Closures Surge Across England and Wales Amid Cost Pressures

The number of pubs disappearing from communities across England and Wales surged by a third in the early months of 2024, according to new figures. Official government statistics reveal that 239 pubs were either demolished or converted for other uses in the three months leading up to March 31.

This translates to around 80 pubs closing each month, a significant 56% increase from the 51 pubs shutting down monthly in the first quarter of 2023.



Pub sector leaders attribute these closures to the combined impact of high energy and food costs, reduced consumer spending, and substantial tax burdens on hospitality businesses.

Data compiled by commercial real estate specialists at Altus Group show that the total number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and available to let, fell to 39,162 by the end of March, down from 39,401 at the end of 2023.

The North West region of England was hit hardest, losing 35 pubs during the first quarter of 2024.

Over the past year, a total of 472 pubs across England and Wales have been lost to communities, having been demolished or repurposed as homes, offices, and nurseries.

On Friday, pub and brewery group leaders called on major political parties to immediately cut beer duty and reform business rates ahead of the July 4 General Election. The Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats have all pledged to overhaul business rates to alleviate the financial strain on high street shops, pubs, and restaurants.

Alex Probyn, president of property tax at Altus Group, emphasized, “The fundamental issue for businesses is not necessarily the system but how much tax it actually generates. It is a tax that has risen 49% over the last 14 years, with businesses across all sectors now paying £9.48 billion more annually than in 2010. While the pledges to reduce bills for the high street are welcome, businesses had hoped for more detail and a clear timeline.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), highlighted the challenges faced by the sector: “The pub closure figures for the first quarter of this year reflect the continuing high costs of doing business, particularly with high energy costs and food and drink inflation remaining above the topline inflation rate. Additionally, varied weather conditions and a significant tax burden—with £1 out of every £3 spent in pubs going directly to the taxman—further squeeze margins.”

McClarkin added, “Recent party manifestos have included promises to reform business rates, combined with previous commitments to recognize the sector’s importance to communities and the wider economy. It is crucial that the next government establishes a fiscal and regulatory framework that not only ensures the sector's survival but enables it to thrive.”

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